Art of Living Foundation gets clean chit from Delhi, UP government for hosting cultural event near Yamuna

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New Delhi | Published: July 29, 2017 1:39:59 PM

Art of Living Foundation, an NGO led by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, was apparently given a clean cheat by the governments of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in a case where the NGO was accused of damaging nearly 420 acres of the Yamuna floodplains.

Art of Living Foundation, Yamuna floodplains, Art of Living Foundation Yamuna floodplains, Art of Living Foundation National Green Tribunal NEWS, National Green Tribunal Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, ngtThe panel of Delhi and UP government said that there were no signs of lasting environmental damage in the site. (IE)

Art of Living Foundation, an NGO led by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, was apparently given a clean cheat by the governments of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in a case where the NGO was accused of damaging nearly 420 acres of the Yamuna floodplains. Contradicting the earlier report, submitted by the seven-member panel set up by the green body, a three-member committee of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments in its report to the National Green Tribunal has said that there were no signs of lasting environmental damage where a cultural event in 2016 was hosted, as reported by Hindustan Times.

After inspecting the site on Wednesday, the three member panel submitted a report stating, “the land where the function of Art of Living was held is fully covered with grass along with some saplings/seedlings of various tree species. This kind of grass and natural regeneration of seedlings is not possible on compacted soil.” Earlier, a seven-member committee, comprising scientists –CR Babu, AK Gosain, NK Labhasetwar and others–had said the floodplains were damaged because it was levelled by compacting soil and several water bodies had been filled up.

As per the latest report, there is no significant size of wetland or water body noticed by the committee in the area used by the Art of Living. The committee further added that it also could not see any heap of debris on the site. The committee, referring to the Google earth images, said in its report that it could not locate any “heap of debris” on the site and it is evident that no “wetland or water body” is seen on the site prior to the event, PTI reported. Terming the matter ‘fait accompli’, the NGT had on March 2016 allowed the festival, as they could not ban it. Earlier, the NGT was told that rehabilitation of Yamuna floodplains will cost INR 13.29 crore and take almost 10 years, as per PTI.

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